40 TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA.
King on their arrival at Amarapura. His Majesty, however, was pleased to receive in the following August a return British mission which Lord Dalhousie sent to his capital. The chief British envoy on the occasion was
Colonel Phayre, and accompanying him was a brilliant suite with Captain (afterwards Colonel Sir) Henry Yule as secretary of the mission. The King received the British with every mark of attention and appeared to be genuinely anxious to cultivate good relations with the British Government. But he steadily declined to enter into any treaty which recognised the annexation of Pegu. With considerable shrewdness he wanted to know how the treaty would benefit him. Colonel Phayre pointed out that without a treaty no gunpowder or wrarlike stores would be allowed to pass up the Irrawaddy, but that with a treaty, confidence would be established according to Western ideas, and commodities of all sorts would be allowed to pass. This line of reasoning did not move the King who had evidently made up his mind not to accept the curtailment of his dominions which the British had exacted as the price of the war. However, he parted on cordial terms with Colonel Phayre and the relations of the two Governments dropped into a friendly groove. They continued undisturbed for some years, and meanwhile in accordance with the nomadic usage, of which notice has previously been taken, the capital was transferred from Amarapura to Mandalay. At about the same period (in 1862) the three divisions of Arakan, Pegu and Tenasserim were amalgamated for administrative purposes and consolidated into the province of British Burma. The Commissioners of each province were left undisturbed, but Colonel Phayre was placed over the whole with the title of Chief Commissioner. The
occasion was deemed opportune for making another effort to carry through a permanent arrangement with the Burmese Court. With his honours fresh upon him, Colonel Phayre repaired to the capital and sought to influence
the King to conclude a treaty of commerce and friendship. On this occasion His Majesty was more amenable to argument, and he ultimately assented to an understanding for the promotion of trade relations. On their part the British Government agreed to abolish the duties on their side of the frontier within a year. In return, the Burmese Government consented to do the same, if so inclined, within two, three or four years. It was a rather one-sided compact, but the British
Government were glad to enter into formal relations under almost any reasonable conditions, and it was hoped that the treaty might be developed in commercial directions thereafter, when the Burmese Government
had had time to appreciate the benefits of trade intercommunication. Great expectations were founded on a clause which gave British subjects the right of trading in any part of Burma, and the right conceded of having a British representative at the Mandalay Court was also deemed to be of considerable value. But it soon became evident that the treaty was not to accomplish much. While the British Government promptly abolished the duties 011 their side of the frontier the King took no action towards removing the fiscal barriers on the Burmese side. When pressed on the subject he procrastinated, and put the Indian Government off with vague professions of his desire for freedom of trade. The monarch himself was well disposed towards the British, but the Burmese officialdom, which had been badly hit by the British conquests and the consequent shrinkage in their means of enriching themselves, were hostile and arrogant and left no stone unturned to keep the intruding Britisher out. Various incidents from time to time occurred to show the length to which the feeling of antagonism would be carried, given the opportunity. Now it was a case of two British officers engaged in an exploration of the upper course of the Salween River being sent back in defiance of the clause of the treaty permitting freedom of movement to British subjects. Anon there was trouble over the disgraceful beating of an English gentleman in the streets of Mandalay, because he would not sit or kneel down while a Burmese official of very ordinary rank was
passing. Invariably where any effort was made to explore the country there was friction.
The situation at length became so uncomfortable that the Indian authorities decided to
KAMA FROM THE STEAMER.
(From aViews and Sketches in Burma/a)
OLD MONASTIC HOUSES A ROAD IN RANGOON IN 1853.
(From aViews and Sketches in Burma.a)(From a Views and Sketches in Burma.a )